THE Dubai World Trade Centre, visible from any point in the city and one of the tallest buildings in the Arabian Gulf, is not only recognised for its structural qualities. It has become a venue for some of the most significant and high-profile exhibitions to be held in the Middle East. Despite the fluctuating economies in several parts of the world, Dubai has displayed a confident upward streak, prompting manufacturers from around the world to use exhibitions staged in the emirate as an ideal platform to explore business potential within the region and establish joint partnerships. A recent report issued by the World Bank rated the United Arab Emirates - the only Middle Eastern country to be listed - as among the high income economies of the world and ranked the country ahead of Hong Kong, Spain, Italy and Britain in per capita gross income. The four large exhibition halls of the centre have played host to numerous shows. By the end of this year, 42 exhibitions will have been staged at the centre, besides special seminars and conferences held alongside each show. The attendance at all these events is expected to reach 500,000. One major exhibition set to open at the end of of this month is the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) which has now been established as the Gulf's leading information technology forum. One hall is dedicated to the 'Computer Shopper', where an individual can seek and find anything in computers and software under one roof. Last year, more than $283 million was generated in sales at 'Computer Shopper' alone in just four days. Exhibitors at GITEX '94 have pledged to make this year's show the most exciting event in the history of Middle East computing and one that will rival international exhibitions such as CeBIT and Comdex. Several of the major participants have timed product launches to coincide with the show. There will be more than 300 international exhibitors representing 1,000 companies, with 10 worldwide product launches and over 48 Middle East product launches during the exhibition. Another exhibition due to draw attention in December is the Overseas Property and Investment Exhibition (OPIE), which will provide an opportunity for Gulf and expatriate businessmen to explore investment opportunities abroad. The exhibition has also been chosen by the World Gold Council to showcase its special exhibition of more than 350 gold bars derived from 85 companies in 25 countries. The Middle East Food and Catering Equipment exhibition, which is held on a biannual basis, has seen a phenomenal growth since it first began five years ago. In 1992, business deals worth US$7.5 million were concluded even before the curtain came down at the show. Servicing the growing needs of the business community, almost all core subjects are explored at the various exhibitions throughout the year. International shows featuring health, oil and gas, construction, interior design and furniture, fashion, electricity, education, motor vehicles and the building industry are staged. Besides specialised events, the exhibition halls have staged national shows organised by several countries which have forged trade links with the Gulf and Middle East. Such was the unprecedented and unexpected response to the India in Dubai '94 exhibition, which ended on September 24, that, on the final day, actual contracts signed totalled US$50 million. Between November 1994 and March 1995, a peek at Dubai's exhibition calendar reveals some increasingly important events. Beginning with GITEX at the end of October, November will feature an exhibition on International Commercial Vehicles, Freight '94 - a show relating to an exhibition of equipment and services for the cargo, freight and materials-handing industry. During December, there will be a Made in the UAE exhibition as well as Woman '94, a show open only to women which will feature products and services relevant to a woman in every sphere of her life. In January, there will be the Gulf Education and Training exhibition, the Gulf Food and Equipment, exhibition and Arab Health '95. This will be followed by the International Middle East Consumer Electronics Show and the Middle East International Cable and Satellite exhibition which will run concurrently in March.